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Michael Shannon Drinks Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Water’; Idris Elba to Play ‘Molly’s Game’; Oscar Isaac Is ‘A Foreigner’

Written by on May 9, 2016 

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The intensity of Michael Shannon‘s onscreen presence and the overwhelming (sometimes too-overwhelming) authorial control wielded by Guillermo del Toro may very well be a match made in Heaven. We should soon have a sense of their compatibility: the latter is looking to cast the former in his Fox Searchlight-backed Cold War romance, supposedly titled The Shape of Water, which has secured Sally Hawkins, Octavia Spencer, and Richard Jenkins. [The Wrap]

Here’s the synopsis that came in last week:

We’re hearing that the fairytale, set in 1963, centers around Elisa (Hawkins), a mute janitor working at a lab where an amphibious man is being held captive. When Elisa falls in love with the creature, she devises a plan to help him escape with the assistance of her neighbor (Jenkins). The world outside of the lab, however, may prove to be more dangerous for the amphibious man than Elisa could have anticipated.

idris_elbaMeanwhile, del Toro alums Idris Elba and Jessica Chastain may join forces for a very different voice, Aaron Sorkin, who’s making his directorial debut with Molly’s Game. Jessica Chastain is likely to lead the endeavor (as we reported recently), an adaptation of Molly Bloom‘s memoirs — the story of a failed-Olympian-turned-waitress who came to run “the most exclusive high-stakes poker game in the world.” As so often happens in life, just like the movies, this fell to nothing when federal authorities caught wind of her activity. [Variety]

Details of Elba’s role have not been disclosed just yet, though Sorkin is (obviously) excited, calling he and Chastain “two of the greatest actors of their generation.” What the legendary writer can produce with a camera remains to be seen, but it’s already safe to say that if he screws up a partnering of this duo, he has really screwed up.

Premiere Of Walt Disney Pictures And Lucasfilm's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" - ArrivalsOscar Isaac! Who doesn’t like Oscar Isaac? Very few people, at least as far as I can tell. A lot of people didn’t much care for Alfonso Gomez-Rejon‘s breakout Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, however, so it’s with mixed enthusiasm that many read they’re partnering for A Foreigner, a Chris Terrio-scripted, Paramount-supported picture based on David Grann‘s 2011 New Yorker piece “A Murder Foretold.” A true story that was practically begging for cinematic treatment — references to the scenario’s movie-like quality abound within — it follows Rodrigo Rosenberg, “a murdered Guatemalan man who arranges for videos of his killers to be distributed after his death in order to uproot the corruption that has led to other killings.” [Variety]

But that notice only scratches the surface of Grann’s work, which could very well be extended into a miniseries — or at least an awfully long film. If nothing else, the material seems worlds away from Gomez-Rejon’s debut, preoccupations with death aside. Maybe this will change some people’s perception of his abilities.

alicia vikanderAnother question: What’s better than starting your own production company? Having a bit of fun with the name, obviously. Credit to Isaac’s Ex Machina co-star Alicia Vikander for getting further into the filmmaking business, and a particular credit for calling her new company Vikarious Productions — started with her agent, Michael Collier — whose title signals, if nothing else, some good sense of personal branding. [Deadline]

Their first feature will be Euphoria, which is to star Vikander and Eva Green “as sisters in conflict traveling through Europe towards a mystery destination,” creating a project that the actor-producer calls “full of suffering but also full of joy, and squaring up to very important subject matter.” Her Pure and Hotell collaborator Lisa Langseth will write and direct the English-language picture, one Vikander sees as an important first step for possessing “compelling female voices and [being] packed to the rafters with female talent both sides of the camera.” Let’s hope this is but the first of many such projects. Production begins this August.


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